The little blue wading bird who starts out white

The almost all white plumage of this bird below poses an ID challenge for many newcomers to the wetlands, who often mistakenly assume he is one of the white egrets – a Snowy Egret or Great Egret.IMG_8174But the bluish-black color of his beak, and his unmistakable green legs are great clues to his true identity.

His behavior gives him away, too, as he forages slowly and deliberately through the water, lifting his legs high and waving his neck and head from side to side.IMG_8166Did you correctly identify him as a Little Blue Heron?! – A juvenile, who is just starting to show some subtle patches of blue plumage amidst those white feathers.  IMG_8208And this is what that ‘white’ Little Blue Heron will look like as an adult – completely slate-blue, with a purplish tint on the neck and head.  If you look very closely, you can see the resemblance!IMG_8204To learn more about the handsome Little Blue Heron’s unusual color transformation, listen to this recent episode on Bird Note, called Little Blue Heron, Light and Dark, and . . . Check out the All About Birds site to learn even more!

13 thoughts on “The little blue wading bird who starts out white

  1. Terrific photos. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how greeen those legs and toes are. They look like they could perform photosynthesis there….

  2. A beautiful post for a beautiful bird and done in such an informative and flowing manner. Thanks for that reminder on the color change of the Lil Blue.

  3. Great post! These two birds are easy to mix up. I have seen completely white juveniles and ones that already have a fe blue spots πŸ™‚

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